Australia congratulated President-elect Rodrigo Duterte this Friday, May 20. This is , despite his controversial rape joke over an Australian missionary, who raped and killed in Davao City jail in 1989. The Australian government, through its Foreign Ministry also vowed to continue its seven decades of healthy working relationship with the Philippines.
“Australia congratulates President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte on his election as President of the Republic of the Philippines.” A statement of Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reads at wwww.foreignminister.gov.au, noting that this year, 2016, Australia and the Philippines are both celebrating its 70th anniversary of diplomatic relationship.
“Australia looks forward to continue working with the new Philippines Government to further develop our enduring bilateral relationship and to address shared regional and global challenges.” Hon. Bishop added, reminding Australians and Filipinos that both countries “share similar values and interests, including a commitment to democracy.”
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“Australia and the Philippines signed a Comprehensive Partnership in 2015 to deepen our cooperation to advance our mutual interests in trade, development and regional security.” The Australian Foreign Ministry further explained, noting that there are over 250,000 Filipinos living in Australia and around 10,000 Filipino students enrolled at Australian universities.
In the latter part of her statement, Hon. Bishop emphasized that Australia will work with the incoming Duterte administration regarding economic partnership, and that the country is anticipating that the “gains of recent years can be sustained and built upon.” As of posting, presumptive President Rody Duterte has not commented on this matter.
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As we all know, Duterte was heavily criticized over his controversial remarks about Jacqueline Hamill during his speech back in April. This lead to Australian ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely to tweet, “Rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialized. Violence against women and girls is unacceptable anytime, anywhere.”
Later, Duterte issued a public apology noting that it was not his intention to show disrespect to women and rape victims. However, he stressed out that he is not sorry for what he has done to protect our people, especially the weak and defenseless, from crime. He promised that if he gets elected, he will continue protecting women’s rights.